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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

"You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased" (Mk 1:11) Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Prayer of the Month

Saint of the Month

Saint Mary, the Mother of God

Feast Day - January 1

In the Roman Catholic Church, the Solemnity of Mary as Mother of God (Theotokos) is celebrated on 1 January, on the same day as the Octave of Christmas.

Theotokos means God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. The Council of Ephesus decreed in 431 that Mary is Theotokos because her son Jesus is one person who is both God and man, divine and human. Hence, the feast is a celebration of Mary's motherhood of Jesus. The title “Mother of God” and the “Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God”, which celebrates her under this title, are at once both Mariological and Christological. 

Mary's identity, role, and status as Theotokos is acknowledged as indispensable.

This feast that celebrates Mary’s motherhood is the oldest feast of Mary celebrated by the Catholic Church.

Mary has an important role to play in the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. She consents to God’s invitation conveyed by the angel (Luke 1:26-38).

Elizabeth proclaims: “Most blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled."

And Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior.

The feast was celebrated in the East before it was in the West, but by the 5th century it was celebrated in France and Spain on the Sunday before Christmas. In Rome, even before the 7th century, 1 January was used as a celebration of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the 13th and 14th centuries, the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ had come to replace the Marian feast on 1 January. The celebration of the Feast of the Circumcision on 1 January was expanded to the entire Catholic Church in 1570 when Pope Pius V promulgated the Missal.

In 1914, the feast of the "Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary" was established in Portugal, occurring on 11 October. In 1931, this feast was extended to the entire Catholic Church by Pope Pius XI and maintained on 11 October. Following the Second Vatican Council in 1974, Pope Paul VI removed the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ from the liturgical calendar, and replaced it with the feast of the "Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God," marked on January 1.

The use of the word “Solemnity” here is not a statement about Mary’s personality. It is a designation used for certain days within the liturgical (church-based) calendar of the Church.  Solemnities are the highest rank of liturgical celebration, higher than feast days or memorials. By celebrating a solemnity dedicated to Mary’s motherhood, the Church highlights the significance of her part in the life of Jesus, and emphasises that he is both human and divine.

Pope Paul VI, in his apostolic exhortation Marialis Cultus (1974), called the Solemnity of Mary “a fitting occasion for renewing adoration of the newborn Prince of Peace, for listening once more to the glad tidings of the angels (cf.Lk 2:14), and for imploring from God, through the Queen of Peace, the supreme gift of peace.”

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, You blessed the Virgin Mary with the fullness of grace. She is my model of faith, hope, and love. I give this new year to her intercession and ask for her holy prayers. Place my needs into the protection of her motherly love. With her help, I want my faith to grow. Give me an increase in the virtue of hope when troubles tempt me to despair. Guide me in understanding Your infinite love. And join my heart, dear Lord, to the Holy Mother's Immaculate Heart, so that I may improve in loving everyone unconditionally, in imitation of my Savior, Jesus. Amen.

 
Divine Updates

MAGNIFICAT in Bangalore (January 14, 2017)

Celebrate an evening with our Lord in Bangalore at the 'Magnificat' on January 14, 2017. Services to be led by Fr. Jacob Arimpur VC. All are welcome.

Venue: St. Joseph's Boys' School Chapel, Museum Road, Bangalore

37th National Youth Retreat

Our annual National Youth Retreat will be held at the Divine Retreat Centre. Come and let the word of God refresh you. Simultaneous retreats for couples, children and Bible nursery to be held. Contact Divine Youth for more details.

Date: May 14 - 19, 2017

Retreats and Healing Masses in Sydney

Divine Australia invites you to healing Masses and retreats to be held across various venues in New South Wales, Sydney. To be led by Fr Augustine Vallooran VC. For details, email Fr Roni George, Director, Divine Australia - drcsydney@gmail.com.

Date: 29th January - 5 February, 2017

Retreats at the Divine Retreat Centre, Somersby, Sydney

Divine Retreat Centre, Somersby to hold retreats throughout 2017. For bookings, email Fr Roni George, Director - drcsydney@gmail.com. Hurry, as admission is limited.

Date: January 2017 - December, 2017

Retreats in Divine Retreat Centre, UK

Divine Retreat Centre, Ramsgate UK, has announced several English and Malayalam language retreats to be led by Fr. George Panackal VC and Fr. Joseph Edattu VC. All are welcome.

Dates: Jan - Dec, 2017

POWER 2017 at Divine Retreat Centre

DRC is back with the highlight of the year: the 11th International Youth Conference - POWER 2017. The very best international preachers and gospel bands will be here to lead us into worship. Be there to experience a totally different atmosphere of prayer. Couples' retreat and children's retreat will be held simultaneously. Don't miss it.

Date: July 23 - July 28, 2017

Hindi Convention Ojas 2017

The Divine Retreat Centre will conduct our seventh Hindi convention in 2017. Two retreats will be held simultaneously on the campus; one for adults/couples and another for youth. All are welcome.

Date: May 28 - June 2, 2017

Divine Retreat Schedules

ENGLISH RETREATS

English retreats are held every week from Sunday to Friday. Special retreats are conducted for priests, religious and laity as well. Come and experience the Lord and grow in Him.

MALAYALAM RETREATS

Inner healing retreats, growth retreats, couples' retreats and youth retreats in Malayalam, are led by Fr. Mathew Elavumkal, Fr. Mathew Naickomparambil and Fr. Binoy Chackanikunnel.

OTHER LANGUAGES

Retreats in Konkani, Kannada, Tamil, Hindi and Telugu

Every week, retreats are held in five different regional languages of India, apart from in the local language - Malayalam. The retreats are led by Vincentian priests and supported by powerfully anointed laity of God.

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